Anne Boleyn- an immortal Queen
It is my opinion that hidden in the fabric of ancient walls and floors remains an imprint of its previous inhabitants and events that echoed in that space. The more emotionally charged the event, the clearer an imprint that resonates and a greater likelihood of the event being ‘played back’ for some among us to sense or see.
It is for this reason that I think the ghost of Anne Boleyn has been seen and sensed in several locations around the UK. She had an enormous impact in life and instigated great change. The palaces, homes, chapels and parks where she once walked and talked at times reveal their secrets to those sensitive enough to receive them. When standing in a space once shared by Anne Boleyn, it is only time that separates us. This is a thought that fascinates me. If only we could peel back the layers of time we would be there- side by side with a great Queen- a great woman.
I think that at times buildings and spaces, for reasons not yet understood, reveal the imprint of an event recorded long ago. And those who hear the whispers and see the recording have essentially looked into the past.
I believe that Anne’s soul is at peace and not wandering the grounds where she once lived. But I do think that her life was emotionally charged, her convictions unwavering, her impact on England unsurpassed by any other of Henry’s wives and her death traumatic. For these reasons, her ‘ghost’ or, in my opinion, her imprint has been seen and heard. Anne Boleyn- an indelible Queen.
Tower of London
Anne Boleyn’s ghost has been seen on numerous occasions at the Tower of London. It is said her ghost haunts the place of her death, beheaded on Tower Green on the 19th May 1536.
Perhaps the most spectacular ghost story relating to Anne is that of a Captain of the guard who saw a light flickering in the locked Chapel Royal late one night. He tried to uncover the source of the light by climbing up a ladder and was met with an unbelievable scene unfolding inside. A procession of Knights and Ladies dressed in ancient costumes pacing the chapel. Their leader, an elegant female whose face he could not see but whose figure resembled that of Anne Boleyn’s in portraits he had seen. The procession later disappears.
Anne is also said to walk from the Queen's House to the Chapel of Saint Peter ad Vincula, where she walks down the aisle to her grave under the altar.
In 1864, a soldier, on duty near the Lieutenant’s lodgings, made another sighting of Anne’s ghost. He claimed to have confronted and challenged a white figure and when his challenge met no response he plunged his bayonet into the figure. To his complete shock, the weapon did not meet flesh instead went straight through the woman. According to the traditional story, an officer lodged in the Bloody Tower saw the whole event take place from his window.
Anne’s ghost is said to appear each Christmas at Hever Castle, her childhood home. She is said to manifest beneath a great oak tree where Anne and Henry courted. Her ghost also walks across the bridge, which crosses over the River Eden on the castle grounds.
Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world.
Anne Boleyn has been seen standing at the window in the Dean’s Cloister at Windsor Castle.
Another Windsor ghost story claims that Anne Boleyn has been seen running down a corridor screaming (sometimes clutching her head).
Anne’s ghost has been seen at Hampton Court wearing a blue or black dress. Some accounts claim she is headless during these manifestations.
Rochford Hall in Essex is a manor house said to be where King Henry VIII first cast his eyes on a young Anne Boleyn. The Boleyns owned the home from 1515, a home claimed to be the setting of secret meetings between King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. There are even rumours of a secret tunnel system beneath the home that King Henry VIII used as his discreet escape route from the house.
According to a previous owner, there are stories of sightings of a headless lady and feelings of extreme cold in one of the rooms. Is this the ghost of Anne Boleyn?
Perhaps the story that I find most difficult to believe, is that of Anne Boleyn’s headless spectre arriving at Blickling Hall in Norfolk, clutching her severed head, in a phantom carriage, drawn by a headless coachman and four headless horses. On arrival the carriage and horses disappear leaving Anne to roam the corridors and grounds until sunrise. This manifestation is said to occur each year on the anniversary of her execution- May 19th.
I have not included these stories because I believe them all to be true instead because most have been circulating for a long time and tell us something about how Anne is perceived in popular culture. I leave it up to you to form your own opinion about their validity.
I personally think that such a dignified woman in life would not then in death roam the grounds of these ancient structures as a headless spectre. Also, as I mentioned in my introduction, I believe that Anne is at peace and that any sighting of her is of an imprint left in the environment long ago rather than of her restless ghost.
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